Sunday, June 03, 2007
Is Kibaki a son of a "homeguard"?
Sunday June 3, 2007
Mungiki secrets: http://www.eastandard.net/hm_news/news.php?articleid=1143969468
By Sunday Standard Team View More stories
Today we are on the footsteps of Mungiki, whose members flagged down a public transport van at 4 am on Saturday, plucked out the driver and conductor, and frog-marched them to a church compound for beheading.
The chilling killings, coming a day after that of five people – including two assistant chiefs in Othaya and Kangema – took place as a clearer picture on the motivation, ties and bonds, and sheer awesomeness of the sect began to emerge.
Inspired by the Mau Mau’s gallant struggle for Independence, galled by the failed ‘promise’ of gold and diamond in Kibaki’s regime, and incensed by a feeling the sons and daughters of the ‘home guards’ (colonial collaborators) are having it nice, what could have passed as a neighbourhood gang is now terror machine.
Used as a resistance movement
The Kigumo killers — who police have no doubt belong to the outlawed sect because of their gangland-styled execution — struck again in the heartland of Central Province.
Mungiki (Agikuyu word for a gathering of many people) members take a seven-step oath — the fourth allowing one to hold the gun and kill — and all ending with the words: "May I die if I desert or reveal our secrets.’’ They fondly refer to each other as jama (insider).
They say they were used as a resistance movement against Nyayo and some people in this regime used and promised them they would correct the injustices meted out on them and their grandparents by the Kenyatta and Moi regimes.
They are disappointed this regime came and maintained the status quo,’’ revealed a police officer who has talked extensively, and under cover, to its adherents.
Few politicians have come out openly to condemn the sect
Residents of Karuri, Murang’a, stare at the scene where a driver, Benson Kimani and a conductor, Solomon Macharia were killed by suspected Mungiki members, on Saturday.
He added: "They are killing those supporting the system and those who have deserted. There was an agreement with some leaders but it was not fulfilled. This is the regime they were waiting for and they are exasperated because it has nothing for them."
The fear now is that in form and spirit, it can easily mutate, and like Al-Qaeda, each ridge could have its own fashion, making the crackdown a nightmarish experience for law enforcers.
Insider sources within Kenya’s vast security network now believe Members of Parliament from the province, including some Cabinet ministers, could be the sect’s financiers and supporters.
Some willingly jumped onto its wagon, others chose to keep the silence because condemning Mungiki could erode votes and make campaigning at the constituency level impossible. Security sources marvel at the fact that few politicians have come out openly to condemn the sect.
Code of silence is reinforced by fear
The code of silence is reinforced by fear there is a limit up to which one can talk about Mungiki. The transgression of the boundary could mean death, defacing, or being made an ‘outlaw’ in the constituency.
Officers interviewed, who requested anonymity, revealed that nearly all the arrested and defecting sect members confess the MPs are with them. In their clandestine leaflets, Mungiki acknowledge the same, and even publish the names.
"Nearly all defectors", and those arrested point to one MP from Central Province as their leader, giving them "political direction and inspiration," the officers on Mungiki’s trail reveal.
Big names from past and current governments and the Opposition feature in the list of those who have done business with the dreaded sect.
They believe minister is out to intimidate them
Even as Internal Security minister Mr John Michuki talks tough on Mungiki, members of the sect believe the minister is not after them for their criminal activities.
They believe Michuki is out to intimidate them into joining ranks with the Government against the Opposition ahead of elections.
They draw the conclusion from the fact that at one time they were a ragtag army set up to fight Kanu, and which ended up sleeping with the enemy, before jumping ship, and turning against the original ‘owners’.
A police officer looks at vehicles burnt by suspected mungiki members in Nairobi, recently.
A vicious battle is raging over whether it is the politicians allied to the Government who will recruit the sect’s members into their ranks, or it is Mungiki who will recruit them into their sect.
Some politicians, especially from Central Province, are caught in the Mungiki web because the sect’s followers see themselves as children and grand children of the Mau Mau, who were cheated at Independence and now want to take by force what their grandparents missed.
Military wing said to be controlled by one family
Sources on the trail of the sect say Mungiki leaders have full backing of their parents, elders and former Mau Mau fighters.
Mungiki, whose military wing is said to be controlled by one family and run by a team of five cousins, has a team of elders and former Mau Mau fighters who punish errant members and decide what to do with defectors.
To survive, some politicians have resorted to negotiate with the sect, while at the same time trying to recruit them into doing dirty jobs for them in the coming elections.
But there is resistance and sect members who see themselves as children of Mau Mau reason that it would be double betrayal should they succumb to descendants of ‘home guards’, most of whom they believe are spokes in the revolving wheels of Kibaki Government.
Mungiki threatened to hold a parallel rally
Last week, the movement sent out a statement expressing anger and saying it had decided, "time is ripe for the truth to be known by the world."
In the leaflet, Mungiki threatened to hold a parallel Madaraka Day rally last Friday "to give facts and evidence" of its "dealings with present and past Government officials."
Within police and intelligence circles, officials agreed that most of what the Mungiki Defence Council raised in the letter were true.
In the letter, the movement named Cabinet ministers, Assistant ministers, MPs, former civil servants and private citizens — all of them from Central Kenya — as some of those it has had dealings with and who promised the members "big things" in return.
The letter claimed a Cabinet minister promised them a big farm but later changed mind and sold it to the Government. It also talked of a Cabinet minister who allegedly contracted them to do dirty jobs during the 2005 referendum only to abandon them later.
Some politicians are paying up periodically
The scene where a vehicle was set ablaze after its driver, Benson Kimani, and conductor, Solomon Macharia, were killed in Karuri, Muranga, on Saturday.
The ‘contract’ allegedly included the elimination of two prominent Opposition leaders.
It claims "they later changed to mercenaries’ approach after we disagreed…" They described themselves as the foot soldier for the poor and made demands that would dramatically empower and enrich the youth.
In the letter, the sect named at least 12 MPs and private citizens, including former civil servants, as some of the people they have deals with and who are indebted to them. Privately, Mungiki members concede there are politicians who are paying up periodically and whom they have no problem with.
"If you have never joined Mungiki, you need not worry, they know who they want and the hunted know why,’’ said a senior policeman.
‘There is one guy all Mungiki leaders implicate’
While others treated the letter as scare-mongering, police and intelligence officials on the trail of the sect believe the information is accurate and that quite a number of politicians from Central Kenya have at one time or another had dealings with the Sect, while some continue to do so.
"Some politicians think they need Mungiki against the Opposition and for their own survival back at home," the source in the force said.
Information gathered after about five years on the trail of the sect reveal that just one family controls the militant wing of the sect.
But the families of some of the sect’s leaders in jail or on the run are also said to be in constant touch with powerful politicians from the region.
"There is one guy all Mungiki leaders implicate in their leadership. Almost all arrested and defecting Mungiki leaders give the same story about the leadership structure of the sect and the names of the same politicians come up," an officer involved in the investigations said.
Killings being perpetrated to punish defectors
Police believe the killings in parts of Central Kenya, are being perpetrated by the sect to punish defectors.
Other independent sources say Mungiki is not only killing defectors but also sending signals to leaders they have dealt with.
Independent sources disclosed that a close network of about five cousins run the entire sect, raising questions as to how such a small family organisation has managed to evade the Government this long.
The Mungiki trail reveals that the organisation is determined to fight on, much as its members feel cornered. Many of them hide for days without change of clothes or going to their homes.
The parents of some of the sect’s leaders are said to be friends with people in high places.
Information gathered from years of trailing the sect and which was corroborated with police and intelligence sources reveal that Central Province politicians are caught in Mungiki’s web for various reasons.
Tradition in which power changes hands
One is that the Sect’s members believe in a Kikuyu tradition of a generational transfer of power, known as Itwika.
Itwika, a tradition in which power changes hands from the old to the new generation, allows the young to revolt if the old guard refuses to hand over power.
According to that Kikuyu tradition, which Mungiki believes in, power is supposed to change hands from the old to the young after 40 years — a period Mungiki members believe has come.
This belief made the sect to embrace a number of young leaders who ran in the 2002 election on the platform of generational transfer of power.
The sect embraced young politicians from Central Province because it also believes in their community’s supremacy over others.
At that time, President Kibaki’s line up was seen to be that of old guard keen on maintaining the status quo.
Young politicians landed Mungiki’s embrace
Either unwittingly or with their full knowledge, the young politicians landed Mungiki’s embrace, which they are now struggling to shed.
In between the last election and now, some old guard of the Kibaki regime have also done business with the sect, using the adherents as a terror gang to scare off opponents and mobilise support.
The older politicians, according to police and non-Government sources, entered deals with Mungiki because the sect also wants a redistribution of wealth controlled by the old guard.
"The sect thinks its members are in a liberation fight to get what their parents and grand parents who served in the Mau Mau never got. Their parents support them in this," one source said.
"They support certain politicians from Central Kenya but also want land from them. The sect’s followers believe that being descendants of the Mau Mau, they never got what they deserve," the source added.
MPs hope to use it as a terror force against opponents
This intricate web, investigators say, explains the silence of Central Province politicians on the sect even in the face of the grim crime it has committed in the region.
Police also believe the sect has active support of a number of Members of Parliament neighbouring the province, who hope to use it as a terror force against opponents in the coming elections.
Government and non-government sources differ on the width and breadth of Mungiki’s reach.
Government officials on trail of the sect say Mungiki is not the omniscient and omnipresent movement it is depicted to be.
They say it would long have been contained if it did not have the support of powerful politicians.
"Mungiki is not a police problem. It is a political problem," an officer on its trail said. Police however fear that if the current trend continues, the sect could spread nationwide and cause mayhem during the coming elections.
Scenario has been complicated by corruption
There are also fears that some members of the security units are members of the sect.
Those who have trailed the sect say it recruits members at tender ages of between 13 and 15 years. When these young men and women are finally sent to join the force, they do it with their loyalty to the sect intact.
The scenario has been complicated by corruption in the force.
Those who have trailed the sect and the trial of one of its leaders say the sect’s leaders are moneyed and have the capacity to compromise anyone. One of them has at his disposal 16 cars.
One of them, according to sources, commands absolute respect, even among police officers taking him to court. According to the source, some officers salute and bow each time he is brought to the High Court.
At the High Court’s basement where prisoners are held before they are brought before the judge, he is "well protected."
Sect thinks it can go national and take over the leadership
Other sources, however, say Mungiki is not limited to Nairobi or Central Kenya as is believed. From mid-1990s, according to sources, the sect started developing Al-Qaeda-styled cells across the country, with different layers of leadership, especially during the Kanu regime.
Because of the secrecy involved, even the cells across the country are open only to young people from Central.
"They have been looking for young politicians from Central Kenya to lead them in taking over leadership. Their frustration is that some of the young people they want to lead them are the children and grandchildren of those who defrauded their fathers after Independence. The sect is also insisting that property stolen from the Mau Mau must also be returned. It is a fix," a source said.
Sect fielded at least 12 candidates in elections
Although it is overwhelmingly active in Central Kenya, independent sources say Mungiki thinks it can go national and take over the leadership.
"They think they can breed a lot of children, grow in numbers and conquer the country. They want to be in Government. They also want to support the supremacy of their community but not necessarily through this regime," a source said.
This tender balance has forced some members of Government to try to recruit Mungiki for support. This happens when the regime is threatened, like during the referendum.
At the last election, Mungiki fielded at least 12 candidates for parliamentary seats. Sources say most of those candidates were rigged out during nominations or persuaded to step down but were incorporated as youth wingers.
Others were promised parastatal jobs.